A Brutalist, former school in south London has been transformed into a residential development by Conran and Partners
Originally developed by Architects Co-Partnership (ACP) as a school in 1964, Conran and Partners have turned the complex into a 149-home development. The scheme has restored the Grade II listed school buildings (called the Lilian Baylis School until 2005, when it moved to new premises), inspired by the design of the early 1960s architecture which they occupy.
Conran and Partners' design approach converts the existing classrooms into light-filled spacious '60s modernist apartments juxtaposed with contemporary new homes that draw on the character of the existing historic buildings. The landscape setting and series of intimate courtyards reflect the strong architectural character of the original scheme and complement the historic buildings, and the project has created a new reflecting water pool in the main courtyard area, originally proposed within the 1960's masterplan but not implemented until now.
A number of contemporary new-build dwellings have been incorporated into the scheme – by developer Henley Homes – as well as landscaped gardens, plaza and community facilities that help to re-connect it into the wider neighbourhood. The former school hall has been retained and is expected to be reconfigured to accommodate a range of community-related uses.
The firm consulted directly with the project architect for the original scheme Bob Sealy – formerly of APC and now retired, and ACP gave the team access to its drawing archives to existing buildings and original design strategies. The Conran and Partners team also undertook extensive consultation with the local community, culminating in two separate public exhibitions.